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Mbuya Miriam Mlambo's death a great blow to culture sector
Cultural Fund of Zimbabwe Trust
August 31, 2008

The passing on of Mbuya Miriam Mlambo is one of the greatest tragedies to the culture sector in Zimbabwe.

She was nothing less than a traditional vessel embodying, defending and imparting the traditions and culture of our country and passing them on to the young. Mbuya took on the role of "tete" and "mbuya" to the young in the urban communities who were greatly affected by the urban rural demarcations.

Arguably the best female radio presenter for children's programmes such as "nguva yevana vadiki" on the then Radio 2 and later on Radio Zimbabwe. Ambuya Mlambo as she was affectionately known to all started her career as a radio announcer at the then Federal Broadcasting of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in August 1956.

A combatant in her on right, she fought colonial inequalities to graduate with a teaching diploma and later a diploma in nursing which she put aside to pursue a career in radio presentation, at a time when issues of racism and sexism were rampant and still distinguished herself.

She was one of the first black people to go into broadcasting in Rhodesia, an astonishing achievement given that she was doubly damned as an African and a woman.

Ambuya Mlambo also acted in TV dramas famously making an appearance on the popular Shona drama "Gringo" Ndiani" on Zimbabwe's local broadcaster, the then ZTV. She was as well the brand ambassador for some commercials.

Some of her shows on radio and TV included Farai Vana Vadiki, Potonjere, Look and Listen, and Crystal Sweets Corner, broadcast in both Shona and English.

She played a crucial role in the preservation of Shona folklore and in keeping the young generations interested in this invaluable tradition through the radio programmes that sought to teach in a fun way that was appealing to the young and the young at heart. As a woman issues pertaining to the girl child were close to her heart and she strove to instill dignity and self respect to the girl as evidenced by the content of her shows.

She spoke strongly about the ills brought about by social decadence where boys and girls no longer behaved morally and were being influenced by technology and picking up ways and tradition foreign to them.

Ambuya Mlambo should forever be etched in the cultural history of Zimbabwe as she brought up the younger generations through her teachings and insightful programmes.

For a woman who had achieved so much her selflessness is commendable, she chose to give back to society and the youth in a way that went above and beyond any call for duty. The heroine status she accorded does not adequately capture all she achieved.

The Cultural Fund of Zimbabwe Trust joints the rest of the country in the mourning Mbuya Miriam Mlambo. Although death robbed us of her energy and personality, her contributions to the culture sector are an inspiration many will continue to draw from.

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